DID YOU READ

The 11 Types of Lip Sync Scenes From the Movies

Duckie Pretty in Pink

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By Kevin Maher

Saturday Night Live writer Michael O’Donoghue observed that the 1950’s fad of paint-by-numbers perfectly captured the hopes and dreams of post-war America, asking, “What better metaphor for life under Joseph McCarthy’s rigid witch-hunting regime than a style of painting in which you had to stay carefully within the lines?”

The current fad of celebrity lip-syncing echoes paint-by-numbers, with artists going through the motions and giving the audience what they expect is coming. (See also: movie remakes and reboots.)

What’s more, lip-syncing gives famous people a chance to be relatable (“they’re just like us!“) and aspirational (even celebrities wish to be like other famous people). But long before this celebrity parlor game was a TV staple, lip-syncing was featured in some famous movie scenes. There are roughly 11 categories of celebrity lip syncing scenes:

1. The Creepy-Ass Lip Sync

Dean Stockwell belongs in some hall-of-fame for this unnerving performance of Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” from Blue Velvet. The creep-factor is upgraded by Dennis Hopper’s mesmerized reverence and Brad Dourif dancing with a snake. (See also: Mulholland Drive, where David Lynch features some almost grotesque sing-along numbers in the movie within a movie.)

And of course, we can thank Reservoir Dogs for making us all shudder whenever Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle With You” comes on the classic rock station.


2. The Irreverent/Sexually Frustrated Teen Lip Sync

If there’s one thing John Hughes got right about smart-ass teens of the ’80s, it’s that they best express themselves through lip-sync. Whether it’s Ferris Bueller in the Von Steuben Day parade or Ducky serenading a girl out of his league, mouthing along to music is a go-to device. Of course, Ducky’s infamous performance comes off as uncomfortable cultural appropriation today, which brings us to…


3. The Racially Problematic Lip Sync

Preston Sturges’ films were known for rapid-fire comic dialogue, but he wasn’t above a good synchronization gag. In The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, Trudy Kockenlocker (actress Betty Hutton) presents herself as the singer of a Paul Robeson-esque song. This 1944 film helped pave the way for generations of white people imitating black artists.


4. The Candid Moment Lip Sync

Most movies won’t show the hero masturbating to his beloved (well, except for Fast Times at Ridgemont High, of course) — so what’s the next best humiliating solo act? Lip-syncing to sappy songs. Extra credit if the character is “caught in the act.” The opening song from Just Friends features Ryan Reynolds in an Eddie Murphy style fat-suit mock crooning to the All-4-One classic “I Swear.”

Then of course there’s Tom Cruise’s infamous underwear lip-sync from Risky Business

Which became so popular, it was parodied by ALF…

See also: Hugh Grant’s lovelorn Prime Minister dancing to The Pointer Sisters’ “Jump (for My Love)” in Love, Actually.


5. The Group Car Ride Lip Sync

What starts as a singalong turns into a lip sync with Wayne and Garth mouthing the final chorus of “Bohemian Rhapsody” to each other. As many karaoke singers have discovered, it’s quite a long song.


6. The Flirtatious Duet Lip Sync

Is there anything more playful (in a PG-13 sort of way) than a man and woman moving their mouths to the radio while making eyes at each other? That flirty chemistry is best captured by Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey moving to “Oh, Baby” in Dirty Dancing.

See also: Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig lip-syncing to Jefferson Starship in The Skeleton Twins. (Yes, we know they’re brother and sister.)


7. The Celebrity Impersonating Another Celebrity Lip Sync

Behold, the very rare meta-lip-sync. Jim Carrey imitates Andy Kaufman playing along as Mighty Mouse in a routine from the first episode of Saturday Night Live in 1975.


8. The “We Sure Had Fun Making This Movie” Lip Sync

For years the closing-credits blooper reel was the filmmakers’ way to tell the audience, “Lighten up! Even if you didn’t enjoy watching this movie we had a ball making it!” (See The Cannonball Run or Liar, Liar.) In 1998, the Farrelly Brothers upped the ante by combining an outtakes reel with a musical number. There’s Something About Mary ends with the cast and crew goofing around and lip-syncing to The Foundations” “Build Me Up Buttercup.”


9. The Lip Sync as Seduction

Here we have Wayne’s World‘s Garth Algar again, using the ’70s classic “Foxy Lady” to put the moves on his dream woman.


10. The Angry Lip Sync

Jennifer Lawrence mixes angry cleaning with angry lip syncing (and a little angry singing) in this memorable scene from American Hustle. She also channeled Santana in a deleted lip sync to “Evil Ways” that plays as more “comedic actor moment” than “spurned suburban housewife.”


11. The Lip Sync as Lip Sync

Finally, sometimes a lip sync scene is just a lip sync scene. For instance, there’s Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths (above) performing “Waterloo” in a lip sync competition in Muriel’s Wedding.

And here’s Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce performing “I Will Survive” and the ’90s dance club staple “Finally” in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

via GIPHY

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